What is Cervical Spondylosis?
Cervical spondylosis (or cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis) is a condition caused by wear and tear of the cartilage and bones of the cervical spine. Since this is degenerative disease most people above the age of 65 years complain of these symptoms. Slow degeneration causes the edges of the vertebrae to develop into brittle and rough bone areas called osteophytes.
Root Causes of Cervical Spondylosis:
- Aging: People above the age of 40 years experience drying, shrinking, bone spurs (extra growth), cracks, herniation of spinal disks, reducing the gaps between the bones in your neck. Ligaments (or connective tissues) in your spine harden as you age making neck movement painful.
- Neck injuries
- Work-related physical stress and strain on your neck,
- Repetitive stress from keeping a sustained or iterative abnormal position of the neck.
- Genetic factors-Family history.
- Obesity and Inactivity.
Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis:
Most people with cervical spondylosis don’t have noticeable symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they can range from mild to severe and may develop gradually or occur suddenly.
- Pain around the shoulder blade.
- Muscle weakness.
- Stiff neck that becomes worse.
- Headaches normally occurring at the back of the head.
- Numbness or tingling sensation in shoulders and arms.
- Loss of balance and a loss of bladder or bowel control.
Diagnosing Cervical Spondylosis:
- Physical Exam: Your doctor will test your reflexes checking for muscle weakness, range of motion of your neck, how you walk to determine stress on the spine.
- Imaging Tests: Includes X-rays, computerized tomography scan (CT scan), Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and/or a myelogram.
- Nerve Function Tests: An electromyogram (EMG) is used to measure your nerves’ electrical activity.
Possible Treatments for Cervical Spondylosis:
Cervical spondylosis cannot be reversed so treatments are focused around relieving pain and strengthening the supporting muscles and tissues:
- Physiotherapy: These include traction, heat, cold, manipulation, painkillers and gentle neck exercises.
- Medications: These include muscle relaxants, narcotics, anti-seizure drugs, or steroid injections for pain relief
- Surgery: Helps rid of bone spurs, parts of your neck bones, or herniated disks blocking nerves or the spine. Surgery is rarely necessary for cervical spondylosis.
- Alternate Therapies: These include Yoga, Acupunture, Acupressure, Chiropractic and other Natural ancient medical sciences to provide relief without the side effects.
Simple yet effective yoga asanas (poses) can help strengthen the body to cope with and manage Cervical Spondylosis.